the short story project


Mackenzie Benoit

A day everyone remembers

The eleventh of September 2001, was a beautiful day, showcasing blue skies without a cloud in sight. It was just like any regular Tuesday morning for 54-year old Brian Clark. Since 1973, he made his way to work at the Euro Brokers, five days a week, this brokerage firm employed twenty-nine years ago, making him a senior at the establishment. Like any normal day, Mr. Clark, the executive vice president, arrived at 7:15 in the morning and made his way to the southern elevator. His personal office oversaw the New York city skyscrapers from the 84th floor of his workplace, and this was where Brian Clark spent most of his time. He would often glance at the Statue of Liberty, which could be seen directly outside the high rise window of his office. They were even airplanes passing by his window throughout the day. He never thought he would make it this far in the industry, his devotion paid off. Moreso, he was always astonished to have been thrown into management where he has worked in for fifteen years.

Brian Clark sat behind his desk which faced the door and with his back to the tall window, and went on with his routine for that day. His position in the company meant he had many responsibilities and tasks. The family man would often stare at his fire marshal kit which contained a whistle, a reflective vest, and a flashlight. This had been given to him in 1993 after a World Trade Center bombing. It would remind him of his importance in the company and the impact he might have on people. His mind was not focused on the work but simply thinking of how people counted on him for their own safety, and that made him feel content. Once again, his attention was caught by a reflective light that kept zigzagging on the computer screen. Another airplane passing by the city of New York, very near to the statue of liberty. He thought of the passengers going on vacation, possibly to get away from the daily stress. He could not remember the last time he went on vacation for it felt as if it had been an eternity. Suddenly he remembered he had work, therefore he pressed onto the tab button and the reflection on the screen became another Euro Brokers form.

Tired, Brian Clark glanced at the clock in the corner of the small room and would observe the time go from 8:45 to 8:46. As soon as it changed, he heard a loud thump from outside the building. There were no vibrations yet the lights flickered for a second. He lifted his head to the overhead lights and then turned to the window, only to behold the blue sky as it was being curtained by an immense grey blanket. He noticed the entire airspace outside the facade filled with flames and smoke. Nothing came to mind as to the cause of this unpleasant view. His immediate thought returned to the 1993 incident. In that moment, he believed that there possibly had been a bombing on one of the floors in the North tower. He turned around a second time to see employees running towards the elevator and fill the staircase. Everyone was panicked and some, like him, just stood in their office overlooking the incident outside and wondering if any of it had really happened.

At exactly 9:03am, a second thump caught Brian Clark’s attention. This time, there was a vibration and the lights and internet connection were completely lost. Smoke was billowing from below, outside the facade, while more people escaped the floor with a look of panic and hysteria. Some went upstairs, aiming for the roof, and some were on their way down. Instinctually, Mr Clark claimed his fire marshal kit and headed for the stairs. He put on his reflective vest and turned on the flashlight in order to guide him through the temporary darkness. Brian saw a woman on her knees crying in terror and he took her arm to take her to the bathroom where he calmed her down. Once calm, he and the woman went down the stairs together for a couple of floors, alongside other people fleeing the scene. Soon, a screeching sound caught Brian’s attention. It was Stanley DiFrancesco, and he seemed to be stuck under a desk. Brian hurried to get him out from under the furniture that was keeping him from escaping and as soon as they were together, they charged down the stairs till they were on the main floor. While rushing down the stairs, Brian must have lost the crying woman from his sight for she was no longer with him and Stanley.

The two men hurried out of the building and walked for five minutes, away from the incident. The televisions featured in the shop’s windows all featured the same news channels. They showed the South and North tower burning and he would soon see a plane falling to the ground from one of the floors of the tower adjacent to his. He pointed out that it looked very similar to the one that recently flew passed the Statue of Liberty. As they arrived at the Trinity Church situated on Broadway street, Brian and Stanley stopped to look back at the burning building. The second man told the other; “You know, I think those buildings could go down.” Brian Clark replied; “There is no way. Those steel structures. The furniture, paper, and draperies and things like that that are burning…” He was never able to finish his sentence as he watched the twin towers collapse, creating a tsunami of dust over the city of New York.

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